How do you get the world talking about the new Tate Modern?

The Tate Modern is one of the world’s most popular museums of modern and contemporary arts, attracting around 5 million visitors each year. Ahead of opening their new extension in London’s Bankside—their biggest event since the gallery first opened in 2000—Tate asked Blue State Digital to develop something that would get their membership and supporter base excited about the occasion.

As an organisation filled with art lovers, BSD was excited to create a digital experience that would celebrate their new space—a space that would allow Tate to showcase more art than ever before and facilitate educational programmes to engage people from all walks of life. Tate had crafted a powerful message for their promotional campaign to celebrate how they are responding to the ever-evolving landscape of art: “Art changes. So do we.” This core message, as well as Tate’s strong belief that art should be more accessible to everyone, was the inspiration for our big idea: The Tate Time Machine. This immersive digital experience allows visitors to travel back in time to discover how art has been shaped by history. Each stop on the journey reflects the true stories behind some of the greatest artworks of the past century.

Through collaboration with the Tate’s curatorial team, over 40 works of art were selected that are on display in the new space, successfully bridging the divide between the online and offline gallery experiences.

Putting art in context

Every trip in the Time Machine is unique with more than 40 years of art to discover. For example, if you stumble into 1937, you’ll meet Pablo Picasso in the midst of the Spanish Civil War. He has just seen the world around him torn apart by the bombing of Guernica, and in response he creates “Weeping Woman,” an oil painting that depicts a distraught mother holding her child. In your next trip you might be transported to Cornwall in the 1940s to meet Barbara Hepworth or to Japan in the 1950s to discover Shozo Shimamoto.

Building long-term digital relationships

But Tate Time Machine doesn’t just take you back in time, it also takes you forward to 2017. You’re asked to make a prediction about your future that Tate will email you in a year’s time. This simple mechanic acts as both a fun way to transform passengers into active travellers in charge of their own destiny, as well as a great opportunity for Tate to instigate conversation and build a long-term digital relationship with new fans and supporters.

The audience challenge

Making meaningful connections with modern audiences is one of the largest challenges that contemporary art galleries face. Almost 100 years on since Marcel Duchamp created “Fountain”, a porcelain urinal he exhibited as a ‘readymade’ artwork in 1917, many people struggle with modern and contemporary art. We wanted to build an experience that gives context to art that visitors can identify with. The Time Machine highlights the museum’s focus on the way artists work—their motivations, materials and methods—and gives an online audience the ability to experience art within the historical and societal contexts in which it was made.

“Through the Time Machine, audiences get a taste of what the new Tate Modern experience will be like — seeing some of their favourite works in a new light, while discovering artists that they may never have heard of before.”Rob Halkyard, Head of Membership and Audience Engagement at Tate.

Tate Time Machine: Share Your Trip

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